Talk six times with the same single lady and you may get the wedding dress ready.

LORD BYRON (1788-1824)


How to Avoid Hanging

Walter Scott’s great-great-grandfather, William Scott, was once caught trying to steal cattle from a man named Gideon Murray. As punishment, Gideon declared that Scott should be hanged, or made to marry his notoriously ugly daughter, ‘Muckle-Mou’ed Meg’ – literally Big-Mouthed Margaret. So ugly was Meg (whose real name was Agnes) that Scott opted for the hanging, but he changed his mind as he approached the scaffold. The marriage turned out to be a happy one.


Absent Consummation

Henry VIII’s sister, Mary Tudor, married Louis XII in 1514. Louis wasn’t present for their wedding.

The consummation of their marriage entailed Mary taking her clothes off and climbing into bed, at which point a Frenchman (the Duke of Longueville, who conveniently happened to be a hostage at the time) removed his doublet and hose from one leg, inserted his naked leg under the duvet and touched Mary’s body with it. Everyone present applauded, and the marriage was considered consummated.


I always cry at weddings, especially my own.

Not Married at Sea

British and American sea captains do not have, nor have they ever had, the authority to officiate at a wedding ceremony. That is, unless the captain also happens to be a judge, a justice of the peace, a minister, or an officially recognized officiate.
This is true of almost all countries, with an exception being Japan: Japanese ships allow Captains to perform a marriage ceremony at sea, but only if the couple has valid Japanese passports.

This myth is so widely believed that the US Navy and the British Merchant Navy have explicitly written clauses into their code of regulations, forbidding captains to perform freelance weddings.

The film industry is largely to blame: Anything Goes (1956), The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (1965), the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap and Pirate Radio (2009) are just some examples of films that erroneously show ships’ captains marrying couples. Even Captain Kirk falls for it, saying in a 1966 Star Trek episode: ‘Since the days of the first wooden vessels, all ship masters have had one happy privilege: that of uniting two people in the bonds of matrimony.’

According to the Roman historian Jordanes, Attila the Hun died of a massive nosebleed on his wedding night.

Jane Austen’s mother wore a bright red dress for her wedding.

Brides don't tend to walk up or down the aisle of a church - they use the central passageway.

White Wedding

The majority of wedding dresses weren’t white until after WWII (white was the most popular colour, with blue second most popular, but it didn’t account for 50%).

Queen Victoria popularised the white dress by wearing one 100 years earlier when she married Albert. However, it wasn’t feasible for the vast majority of women to imitate her because white materials were expensive and easily stained. 

During World War II wedding dresses were commonly made from parachute silk, which soldiers brought back home with them as a memento. It was seen as fashionable and patriotic wedding attire for many years after the war.

Until the 1920s, every woman intended to wear her wedding dress again after her wedding, and most wouldn’t even buy a new dress for a wedding – they’d simply wear one they already owned. A white, lacy meringue simply wasn’t practical for repeat use. 

Charles Addams, creator of the Addams family, got married in a dog cemetery.


It’s a nice day for a white wedding.


Sweet Beginnings

McDonald’s restaurants in Hong Kong offer wedding packages. A spokesperson explained: ‘We started the program because many customers tell us that McDonald's is where they first started dating - it is where their love stories grew. This is exactly why they want to hold their wedding parties at McDonald's - to relive sweet beginnings and bring their romantic story full circle.’

The deluxe wedding package is £900, for which you get a two-hour venue rental, 50 McDonaldland character gifts, two McDonald's balloon wedding rings and a Master of Ceremonies.

Proxy Weddings

It was common for royals to miss their own weddings, because often they were from a different country so couldn’t make the trip, or were busy fighting wars, but were keen to have the formal ceremony as soon as possible in order to cement the marital alliance. So they had marriages by proxy, where a representative was used in their place.

Henry VIII’s brother Arthur married Catherine of Aragon twice by proxy – in 1499 and 1500 - before his wife finally managed to make it to England for their third wedding in 1501. At his two first weddings, Arthur spoke his vows to the male Spanish ambassador, Rodrigo de Puebla, rather than his wife. The second proxy wedding was considered necessary because Arthur was too young at the first one (aged 13) for it to be considered valid. Catherine wasn’t even aware the second marriage was taking place. Letters asking for her consent were delayed, and she agreed to marry Arthur a month after her wedding, unbeknownst to her, had taken place. Arthur died five months after the third wedding, aged fifteen. 

Double proxy marriages, where neither party is present, are legal in Montana. The law dates back to the gold rush of the 1800s, as a way for miners to marry their sweethearts from back home. Today, the law is mainly used by members of the military who want to get married while on active service. For example, in 2012 US Army specialist Michelle Williams and Sgt. Drew Fidler got married in Montana, despite both of them being in Afghanistan at the time. The pair who stood in on their behalf later ended up getting married to each other. 

Alernative Weddings

In 1897, 5,000 people showed up to see Charlotte Wiberg marry Arthur St. Andrassy in a lion's cage at a zoo in Boston. A boys’ choir sang outside the enclosure.

In 1887 a couple in North Carolina got hitched on horseback, after which a particularly witty reporter asked them: ‘Is it proper to call the horseback ride that so appropriately succeeded the marriage ceremony a bridle tour?’

In 2014, one couple held their wedding ceremony underwater, in a divers’ training tank in Fort William, Scotland. 100 guests watched from outside the tank, but the best man and maid of honour donned diving equipment and joined the happy couple in the tank. The ring was delivered by an underwater robot.

The fangs of a boa constrictor are a popular gift to a potential Jivaro bride.

You are allowed to marry at St Paul's cathedral if one of your parents has an OBE.

For her wedding in 1858, Queen Victoria was given a giant wheel of cheddar cheese weighing over 1,000lb.

Health officials found the 'world's largest wedding cake' unfit for human consumption. It was dismantled and used as cattle-feed.

In ancient Rome, walnuts were a fertility symbol. They were thrown at the bride and groom at weddings.